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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tax Tokens

A couple weekends back Jason and I took his mom to our local antique mall, which is a really cool place that we don't frequent very often for some reason. One of the sellers had bargain bags, which are exactly the type of things I need to stay away from; bags of old things that may or may not have a value, often not. But being the type who is attracted to the word bargain, and odds and ends, I had to spend the bulk of my time there sifting through the matchbooks, buttons, military badges and what not until I found something.
What I found was tax tokens, little coins made of paper, metal and plastic with odd things written on them like "For Old Age Assistance."
The sales clerk had no idea what they were either, but they were $3 for a bag of about 50 so I bought them.
Apparently these came into being in the 1930s and were used in some places up until the 1960s as a result of states starting to charges a sales tax. They were used as change when the sales tax was less than a penny. As it happened, a 10 cent item with 5% tax would be 10.5 cents. A store owner would either have to eat the half cent and pay the tax, or overcharge the customer, which, considering sales tax began in the depression for most states, was not something the average customer stood for. So the tax token solved the problem. The customer would pay 11 cents and receive a half penny's worth of change in the form of tax tokens. Then, the customer could use the tax token next time they made a purchase for 10 cents.
Most of the tokens I have are from Oklahoma, which used both paper (during the depression) and two types of metal, brass and aluminum. Missouri has red and green plastic tokens that look a bit like poker chips.
Apparently there are some rare tokens out there, but alas, nothing in my bargain bags are rare, though I also scored both a Dallas and Beaumont City Lines bus token. Both date to the 50s.
So what am I going to do with these?
Make jewelry, of course.
Have I ever made jewelry before?
Of course not.
I'll let you know how that goes. In the mean time, if anyone can come up with another interesting use for these let me know, they're just too neat to have sitting around doing nothing.

In the same bargain bin I also found a bag of postal service pins that had three that said "follow the tiger" so I had to buy them for Jason, obviously, because his band is Raised By Tigers (and he simply won't change the name to Raised By Not.A.Lions). I also bought a book about making cheese at home from 1976 for fifty cents, how cool is that?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Memories Of Lucky Mud


It is with great difficulty and sadness that I write this departure from my recent string of light hearted entries.
On Monday, Jason and I had to have or cat, Lucky Mud, put to sleep due to kidney failure. It was a decision that neither of us wanted to make. And neither of us has quite come to grips with the reality of it yet.
Lucky was 14 years old, and until a few months ago had the strength and playfulness of a kitten. There was no sign that anything was wrong until she stopped eating a few weeks ago. According to the vet this is not uncommon, especially in cats of her age. I know that she was suffering towards the end, and that she is no longer suffering now, but it is going to take me a while to come to grips with the decision.
Lucky Mud was not a friendly cat, or at least that was what Jason lead me to believe when we met. Despite my assurance that I wanted to meet her, Jason was weary as Lucky had apparently sent more than a few people to the hospital with venomous cat bites. She must have sensed the crazy cat lady in me because she was never anything but loving when I was around. I didn't even have to pet her, I would just hold out my hand and she would walk back an forth, earning her the name Self-Petting Kitty (original, I know).
She didn't have as much freedom in the later years as she would have liked. Luke, the boy dog, has no manners and thought that Lucky would make a tasty treat. Because of this she had to be separated from the dogs, but she was a smart and conniving kitty. When the dogs were outside and she had free range of the house, she would wander over to the couch, the kennels, the bed, anywhere that she knew Luke spent his time. She did it just to get to him, at least that's what I would like to think. Luke got into her room once. She kicked his ass. I was proud.
She used to play the piano. I think that was her code to let us know she needed food, or water, or time with the monkeys. I only just learned that Lucky was the first pet to "call" Jason monkey. It was a good choice, Lucky, and I am honored to be one of the chosen monkeys.
I know the hurt will subside, but like many cats and dogs before her, Lucky will never be forgotten.
We miss you, Lucky Mud, all of us, even Luke, in his own way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Post-It Notes: The Glorious Coming of A Sticky New Age as Told By Abraham Lincoln

Because Fanboy Wife asked so nicely...

Four score and several years ago, our forefathers had not the means to affix transcripts of high importance at eye level on ye old ice box. Freedom was at risk, liberty in peril. But in a desolate Vermont forest one late October night, one brave man soldiered forth into a new era of wifely nagging.
Postit McGloo was a proud man of humble means who found his fortune in a paper mill.
Through sheets and reams and bundles and bulk, Postit McGloo toiled tirelessly in hopes of one day finding a means out of the pulpy drudgery of paper oppression.
And so came the fateful day when Postit was called upon by the foreman of the mill (which was named Miller's Mill) to deliver a memo of grave importance to the owner of the printing press in the next town (Which was named Maple Press).
Unbeknownst to Postit, who had come to Vermont just 3 score hence, the mighty maples of the wooded lane had begun to sap. As Postit walked the wind kicked up, sending sprays of sap in all directions. Knowing that this memo was of grave importance, Postit had the fortitude and strength of mind to hold the memo close, exposing only the back to the sap and wind.
Upon reaching the Maple press, Postit noted that the owner's office was in a state of wild disarray. Memos were stacked on every chair, table and on the press itself.
Knowing as he did, that this memo was of upmost importance, Postit McGloo hesitated to simply leave the memo upon one of the many piles (the owner as it happened, had just stepped out). Postit gazed down upon the sap covered note and in a moment of heroic genious, pressed the sticky memo to the door of the office and took his leave.
As it happened, the printing press and the paper mill had been forging a merger and
thus the memo had cemented the deal.
In recognition for his bold decision, the new company, which was to be named Maple Miller's Paper and Print, added Postit's own name to the title, thus Maple, Miller and McGloo, or 3M for short. To this day, Postit's notes are one of their top sellers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Tragic Tale of Marco Polo As Told By Huckleberry Finn

I'm not really sure what prompted this other than the fact that the origin of the game Marco Polo is rather unclear.

Marco Polo ya say? I reckon I've heard of 'em. Weren't he the feller that invented spaghetti?Funny thing fer food don't ya think? Long noodles that slither of the plate like Mississippi mud snakes, covered in a bloody sauce. Not that I can complain, what with my steady diet of possum, squirrel and the occasional nutria, spaghetti sounds downright gourmet.
Marco Polo.
There's a game called Marco Polo isn't there? I seen kids playing that game along the river banks. Yelling their fool heads off; MARCO! POLO! MARCO! POLO!
Ever wonder why they call it that? Why they call it Marco Polo and not Thomas Jefferson or Lewis and Clark?
Truth be told I done hadn't a clue until one night this fancy rapscallion shows up in my neck of the woods wearing city clothes and looking to off load some fancy New York baubles. Not that folk 'round here got much use for fancy baubles, but I reckon the ol' Widow Douglas' eyes was as big as tea saucers when she seen 'em.
I'm getting off the subject again aren't I?
So after a few glasses of Miss Watson's "medicinal" sherry, this ol' city slicker starts telling me the story about ol' Marco Polo.
See here, before his spaghetti days ol' Marco, much like yours truly, liked to have himself some river adventures. 'Cept that ol' Marco wasn't stuck in some boggy ol' Mississippi like I am, he had the gumption to river raft himself all the way to China! I figure that's at least a million miles from Missouri, maybe a little less from New York, which is where this Marco Polo feller was from.
Marco Polo spent a fair deal of time in China, lighting off fireworks and fighting karate style with them dragons. Eventually though he must have grown tired of the orient, or maybe he done come up with his spaghetti idea and wanted to get back to New York to write it down. Either way, Marco Polo got back on his raft and pushed himself back into the ocean with the rest of his buddies.
This is when the tragedy strikes.
One night, the ocean let loose with a thunderstorm the likes of which you ain't never seen. Threw Marco Polo clean of the raft and into the ocean. Ol' Marco tried to swim for it, but the wind was pushing the rafts away from him. He swam like he never swam before but just couldn't make it to the rafts. That's when he began to drown.
Meanwhile Marco's buddies tried to paddle back to where he was but the wind was just too much and they couldn't see worth a lick what for the rain and all. So they started yelling:
MARCO!
MARCO!
MARCO!
So about this time ol' Marco Polo reckons he's dyin'. He has water in this ears, water in his mouth, he's even lost a shoe and there's sharks circling. Just when it looks like ol' Marco's gonna die, he hears a faint sound.
MARCO!
MARCO!
MARCO!
By this time Marco is so delirious, that all he can think to yell back is his own damned name.
MARCO!
POLO!
MARCO!
POLO!
Well I'll be a son of a snake oil salesman if they didn't find him just as one o' them sharks was fixin' to swallow him whole. They pulled Marco Polo back onto the raft (but not before the shark got his leg, all the way to the knee) and high tailed it back to safety.
After that ol' Marco Polo spent the rest of his days inventing spaghetti, which was a hit.He became something of a hero for it. He was given a gold plated peg leg and I heard he even married the Mayor's prettiest daughter.
I still don't reckon that explains why the kids are yelling ol' Marco Polo's name, but I reckon kids don't have much sense anyway now do they?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Aimless

I've been a bit out of sorts as of late, hence my absence from the blogging world. I'm not sure if it's the wild weather swings (low 20's, mid 70's, low 20's again...), The post holiday wind down, the extreme stress of work, or what, but quite frankly I have had nothing of interest to say for some time now.
I'll try to do better.
But for right now, I need some sleep.